President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Le Pen, this is not your first time in Moscow, and I am pleased to welcome you here. I am aware that you came at the invitation of the State Duma – the parliament of the Russian Federation.
We value highly our relations with France and try to maintain good relations with incumbent government and the opposition.
I am, of course, aware of the ongoing election campaign in France. In no case do we want to influence the events as they unfold, but we reserve the right to communicate with all representatives of all political forces in France, just like our partners in Europe and the United States are doing.
Of course, it would be very interesting to exchange opinions with you on our bilateral relations and the situation in Europe. I know that you represent a European political force that is growing quickly.
I am very pleased to see you.
Marine Le Pen (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President. As you know, I have long been urging the restoration of cultural, economic and strategic ties between Russia and France, which is especially important now when we face a serious terrorist threat.
The fight against terrorism can only be truly effective if the largest nations stand side by side and join forces. Russia is fighting in Syria. France has contributed by waging Operation Barkhane in Chad and by fighting terrorism in Mali. I believe that our countries are taking a very active part in this struggle, including by providing assistance to the countries that had to fight the rise of terrorism in the past and are still fighting this threat.
Mr President, you know that terrorist blows have been delivered to France. Yesterday terrorists delivered a terrible blow with many casualties. They continue their attacks every day, using new forms of terrorism, including so-called economy-class terrorism, when the blows are delivered by individuals some of whom enter our countries together with migrants to strike at the population on orders from terrorist organisations, such as ISIS. I believe that in this situation we must do everything in our power to create conditions for an effective exchange of intelligence information in order to protect our nations from the threat that has hit France and has recently delivered a blow to our British friends.
I would like to say that I see it as a big problem that Russian MPs cannot meet with their colleagues from the EU countries. I believe that meetings between representatives of our democratic forces can help all of us find an effective solution to the ongoing terrorist crisis, which, apart from the military aspect, has many other components, as I could see during a meeting with President of Chad Idriss Deby.
As we have said at the meeting with the State Duma Speaker, I believe that all countries should also think about human trafficking, that is trade in people for purposes of financing terrorism.
Vladimir Putin: As you know, there have been many terrorist attacks in Russia. France, Belgium, the United States and many other countries have also suffered. Unfortunately, the erosion of traditional values in many Middle Eastern countries has intensified violence and migration flows.
Tragic events are taking place in Syria and in Iraq’s Mosul, where hundreds of thousands of refugees were forced to flee from their homes. I fully agree with you that we can effectively fight terrorism only by pooling our efforts.
Today, so soon after the tragedy in London, a tragic event happened in Chechnya in the North Caucasus, where terrorists attacked a National Guard unit. We all live in difficult conditions. We must open our eyes to this threat and join forces to fight terrorism.
Marine Le Pen (retranslated): Mr President, I would like to begin by saying that in addition to solidarity and joint actions, which we definitely need, such countries as Russia should consider ways to promote the development of African countries, in particular, in Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa. The African countries that are fighting terrorism say this struggle requires significant financial resources. As a result, they have to reduce spending on healthcare, education and agriculture.
Besides, many young people face the temptation of escaping economic problems by joining armed terrorist groups. In other words, I believe that we need a truly global strategy that will bring together all the countries that want to preserve or restore security around the world.
In my opinion, this strategy should include attention to the economic development of the countries that have become the object of the terrorist threat and have to defend themselves against it.
Vladimir Putin: I fully agree with you. You are quite right.